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  • Conservation is something were hearing a lot about these days, because Earth has

  • finite resources and we're kind of using them up really fast.

  • But what if we didn’t conserve?

  • What would happen if the Earth ran out of food and water?

  • So, the good news is Earth isn’t going to run out of water anytime soon.

  • The water we have doesn’t exactly do a disappearing act, it just changes state, evaporating into

  • the atmosphere then raining or snowing back down.

  • The problem is, most of that water -- about 77 percent -- is salt water.

  • And the fresh water we need is mostly frozen at the poles.

  • But some exists in rivers and streams, which is good for us!

  • And those sources get replenished from rainfall, which is even better.

  • But as populations grow and more people rely on these sources, we have to start literally

  • digging into other resources, namely underground aquifers.

  • These subterranean wells carry us through droughts so we don’t have to curb our habits,

  • but new climate data is showing that were draining the largest water reserves in Africa,

  • Eurasia, and the Americas faster than theyre replenished by rain.

  • So much of the groundwater we use is lost to evaporation or ends up in the oceans meaning

  • it doesn’t get reused, and that’s leaving billions of people without clean water.

  • Not only is there less water, but these dwindling resources don’t exactly abide by geographic boundaries.

  • So nations are fighting for control over limited resources, and it’s sparking wars.

  • The conflict in the Darfur region of Sudan began as a local dispute over access to clean

  • water between African farmers and Arab pastoralist communities.

  • Then it escalated into an all-out war that has caused hundreds of thousands of lives and displaced

  • an millions since 2003.

  • Yemen is also seeing increased riots over access to water.

  • In both cases water will solve the conflict but that magical peace-bringing water doesn’t

  • exactly exist.

  • So who is the biggest user of water and the people feeling these shortages the most?

  • That would be farmers, the people who also bring us food.

  • As water becomes more scarce the price will go up, which will in turn drive up food prices.

  • And then were in the same position with groups fighting for access to a vital but limited commodity.

  • Were going to see food wars the same way were seeing water wars.

  • And war has a nasty habit of destroying land, meaning we could destroy all our crops in

  • the process, leaving us with nothing at all to share once there is peace.

  • But don't worry too much, scientists are already thinking about protecting us from ourselves with seed vaults.

  • There are vaults all over the world that stores seeds to preserve genetic diversity of food,

  • and the global backup is the Svalbard Global Seed Vault in Norway.

  • This will not only give us diverse food, but it will give us a way to preserve our ecosystem

  • so we can grow the crops that sustain us.

  • Because without some forethought into preserving our ecosystem, well, we could go the way of

  • the dinosaurs.

  • The Earth will be fine; our planet is pretty resilient.

  • Us and the environment that sustains us?

  • Not so much.

  • So unless we want a future of wars over the snacks on your desk right now, we should probably

  • start taking conservation initiatives very seriously.

  • This video was written by space historian Amy Shira Teitel.

  • On the topic of water, she just made a video about releasing water into space!

  • Check it out.

Conservation is something were hearing a lot about these days, because Earth has

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What If Earth Ran Out Of Water And Food?

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    Theo Lee posted on 2017/05/03
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